Obesity in America – a brief history







Why Should I Eat More Fat?

 

Disclaimer:  We are not doctors, nor do we claim that there is a single best diet for everyone.  Talk to your doctor before making any significant lifestyle changes.

Americans today are obsessed with their weight. The global market for weight loss in 2014 was estimated at $586 billion, and it’s still growing. People are confused, frustrated, and obsessed with figuring out a way to lose or maintain their current weight, and they’re willing to pay big money for it. But despite our collective $586 billion investment, we continue to get fatter. What’s going on?

Let’s start by looking at the numbers. The following is a graphic of the data published by the CDC on the prevalence of obesity in the United States:

CDC-Obesity-Thinkcell

CDC Obesity – Thinkcell

Between 1976 and 2000, the percent of “obese” people rose from 15% to 31%. What would cause such a massive shift in so many people so quickly?

Simple answer: we started eating more of the wrong types of food.

In 1970, Ancel Keys published a report that studied the diets of seven countries, and in doing so linked higher cholesterol levels with increased risk of heart disease. This was combined with a government eager to demonstrate it’s commitment to helping the American people thrive (Nixon, anyone?) and so in response, the US government told Americans to restrict their dietary fat intake in 1977.

From a very basic understanding of biochemistry, a low-fat diet makes sense.  Fat has 9 calories per gram, which is more than double that of both proteins and carbohydrates (4 cal/gram each).  If we cut out all fat, we will miss out on a bunch of super-dense calorie foods that are making us so fat and unhealthy.

The problem is, we can’t just cut out calories. We need a certain amount of food to survive. So, starting in 1977, Americans began replacing dietary fat with the most abundant (and delicious) macronutrient available: sugar.

And just like that, our collective waistline is off to the races.

If you’ve tried to lose weight before, someone has probably told you about the ‘calories in, calories out’ model. “You’ve got to stop eating so much, or you’ve got to exercise more. It’s that simple!”  It’s so easy to say you’ll do it, but to actually stop eating when you’re hungry is another story.  We tell ourselves we’ll eat that big, juicy burger today and hit the gym tomorrow.  And our waistline grows just a little.

I’m not going to tell you to count calories, or do 20 pushups before a shower. These things work, but it’s a grind which requires constant focus. Most of us want to spend our time and focus on our friends, family, or watching TV. Instead, I have a very simple proposal: let’s shift our diets back towards what they looked like in 1976. Let’s add back in the fat.

(If you want to think in terms of ‘calories in, calories out’, I’m proposing an adjustment of “calories in”. All calories come from 3 groups: protein, fats, and sugars (a.k.a. carbs), so let’s try adjusting the amounts from those groups.)

Try this:  eat a tablespoon of fat before breakfast, and one more sometime after lunch. Olive oil, coconut oil, or butter will do the trick.

Understandably, this may freak you out. I can hear that voice in the back of your head, its screaming, “I’m trying to lose weight, why would I intentionally eat more calories??”

Simply put, adding fat back into your diet is going to awaken some long underutilized systems. Hunger hormone #1, leptin, is going to circulate, telling your brain that you’re satiated. Also, the level of hunger hormone #2, ghrelin, is going to drop off (think “growling ghrelin” – if your stomach is growling, your ghrelin level is high). Thirdly, the cells in your body are going to turn up the fat-burning power generators, instead of red-lining the sugar-fueled ones. And once those fat-burning engines are turned up, guess who discovers a ton of reserve fuel sitting just behind them?

Try increasing your fat intake by 2 tablespoons daily for a week, and see what the scale says afterward. I know it works – I lost 17 lbs after starting every morning with Bulletproof Coffee (thanks Dave!). (Of course, if you travel a lot or only wake up in the morning because you have to, it’s not always easy to make Bulletproof coffee.  That’s why I started making jars of Coffee Booster for myself and my friends.

Our bodies are screaming for more fat, so let’s listen.  And if you want to give your body some of the highest quality fat available, in a shelf-stable, travel-friendly jar, I know just the place!

-Erik

(PS – there is a lot of great info on the Studies & Articles page about Ketosis, a state in which your body only uses fat as energy.  Studies show it can have some pretty dramatic results.